Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Need A Writing Coach?

If you've ever considered working with a writing coach then you need to contact my good friend, Suzanne Lieurance - Freelance Writer, Children's Author and The Working Writer's Coach

She'll help You:

- identify the audience you want to write for.
- develop a platform and brand for you.
- establish you as a writer.
- put together articles for publication, and
- get your freelance writing career off the ground!

This Thursday night she's offering a F.REE sample coaching teleclass. Suzanne can be contacted at any one of her internet sites.

Make sure sign up for her free newsletter.

Have a great day!


Thursday, August 17, 2006


Jewelry Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Turn Your Children's Clocks Back to "School Time"


Yippee! I’m so excited in less than one week my son returns to school. During “summer time” he’s tends to be under foot and demanding of my attention. However, the upside of “summer time” is my son stays up late and sleeps till about 11:00 every morning - out of my hair. So, since I’m a morning person, during “summer time” I’m able to write during the time I usually spend getting him ready for school.

Now all that’s about to end, starting tomorrow I will be turning his clock back to “school time.” I’m going to get him back into his school routine by doing the following:

-Begin waking him up early every morning before school starts. He’ll need to get out of bed and get dressed. He’s not going to like this. Too Bad! He’s got to get his internal clock reset -school starts early,7:15. Of course I’ll warn him tonight – maybe.

- Start gathering up his back pack, bicycle lock and all the other stuff he needs to travel to school. Then inventory and organize school supplies – paper, pencils, pens, erasers, markers, colored pencils, rulers, calculator, protractor…. It takes a lot of stuff to educate a kid these days.

-Get all his clothes organized. Sort out all the clothes he’s outgrown. Buy new ones if neccessary. This will probably require a major re-organization of his closet. He’s going to have to pitch some of that junk he’s saving - i.e. useless remote control airplanes.

-Begin practicing the trombone everyday. Although, he’s required to practice piano everyday I’ve let him slide by on the trombone - no pun intended. Tomorrow that will all end. I’ll sit in agony and make sure he goes through his scales.

-Put him to bed early tomorrow night. Check on him several times, making sure he hasn’t turned the TV on or is playing an X-Box game. Poor kid! Has a television in his room.

Ah, the sweet days of “summer time” have come to an end for my son. But the bliss of “school time” is just around the corner for me.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Simple Pleasures


Take time today to hug your kids. Remember all the joy they bring to your life everyday.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Simple Pleasures

Jump in the Pool

It’s July and the temperature may reach 105 degrees in some parts of the United States. Today, Avoid the heat and stay cool - take a refreshing swim.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Cooking With Kids


Blueberry Muffin Cones

This may seem like a funny combination but kids love this treat - especially when the top of each cone is crowned with dollops of sweet icing and yummy sprinkles.

What You’ll Need:

1 Box Blueberry Muffin Mix
1- Carton of Ice cream cones
1- Can Vanilla Icing
1- Jar Decorator Sprinkles
Cupcake Liners
Muffin Tin


1. Prepare muffin mix according to package directions. Divide batter into lined muffin tins. Bake according to directions -Let cool.

2. Remove liners from muffins. Tuck a muffin into each ice cream cone.

3. Ice cones with frosting and decorate with sprinkles.

Makes approximately twelve

With adult supervision your kids will make this easy to make, not too sweet, treat often.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Strategies to Use With Students Who Find Reading Textbooks Too Difficult


If you have students or children who find reading textbooks too difficult, then you need to adapt instruction.

Here are some tips for both parents and teachers:

Supplement The Textbook

- Audio-tape the textbook chapter

- Read the textbook chapter aloud

- Work with your child or students individually or is small groups

Simplify the Textbook

- Write an abridged version of the textbook

- Give students an outline of chapters which highlights the key points they should grasp

- Supplement the textbook with other material, i.e. videos, computer applications

Set Purposes for Reading

- Activate students' prior knowlege before reading the textbook

- Introduce key vocabulary terms before reading

- Write a study guide to help students identify key concepts and terms they will find as they're reading their textbooks

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Simple Pleasures


It's mid July and delicious watermelons are appearing at roadside stands and in grocery stores. Dine on watermelon today and enjoy the fruits summer brings.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. -Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Handy Little Black Book


Several months ago I took a writing course. One of the first things the instructor handed to each person in the class was a little black book. It was actually a miniature version of those black-speckled composition notebooks you buy at places like Wal-mart.

The instructor announced, “You need to start thinking like a writer, so that means you need to always be brainstorming about writing ideas. Here’s a little black book to use because you never know when a writing idea will hit you.”

Well, good student that I am, I followed her instructions and began to use that little black book to jot down everything that came to mind. And to this day, I keep that little black book with me at all times. It’s small enough to fit into my tiniest purse or even the pocket of my jeans or a jacket. That’s why it’s so handy when:

- I’m driving down the road and an introductory sentence or phrase for an article comes to mind.

- I’m waiting at the dentist’s office and an idea for a book or an article occurs to me.

- I see a catchy phrase I think I may be able to use in my writing some day.

- I make a new writing contact and need to write their name or email address down.

- I’m at a party and I find myself bored and decide to work on my marketing plan for the following week.

Now that I think like a writer, I always keep my little black book handy, even if it is a little dog eared by now.

Are you thinking like a writer, yet?

If so, then you need a handy little black book, too.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Here are some reflections of motherhood I think both Mom and Dad can appreciate.


4 Years of Age...My Mommy can do anything!

8 Years of Age…My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot!

12 Years of Age…My mother doesn’t really know quite everything.

14 Years of Age…Naturally, Mother doesn’t know that either.

16 Years of Age…Mother? She’s hopelessly old-fashioned

18 Years of Age… That Old Woman? She’s way out of date!

25 Years of Age…Well she might know a little bit about it.

35 Years of Age…Before we decide, let’s get Mom’s opinion.

45 Years of Age…Wonder what Mom would have thought about it.

65 Years of Age… Wish I could talk it over with Mom----

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Making Homemade Potpourri

Part Two of a Two-Part Article

-Select a Fixative

A fixative “fixes” or holds and absorbs the scents of all the other ingredients. There are several fixatives to choose from. The easiest to use and obtain are orris root powder and gum benzoin.

-Essential Oil

Essential oils are found in perfumed flowers, leaves, roots, and even seeds. Perfume emitted from plant oils may be a citric, floral or a spicy scent. Bottles of essential oils can be found at most craft stores or purchased from specialty stores or catalogues that offer potpourri supplies. Essential oils most popularly used are: rose, lavender, orange blossom, ilang-ilang, jasmine, vanilla and patchouli. It’s a matter of personal choice when selecting an essential oil for your potpourri.

-Assemble Ingredients

Measurements do not have to be exact when mixing all the components in potpourri. Although, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, such as, rose scented potpourri, refer to books on this topic -they will provide more exact measurements. So, for every quart of dried flowers, use about one teaspoon of fixative, and about six drops of essential oil. Adjust both of these according to the quantity of flowers you have available, then just follow these steps.

1. In a small bowl place spices (if they’re ground up), and your fixative. Add six drops of essential oil then thoroughly mix using your fingers.

2. In a separate bowl (larger) mix your flowers, herbs and whole spices (these are your dry ingredients).

3. Pour spices, fixative and essential oils into the larger bowl of dry ingredients. Mix well to ensure that the oil, fixative and spices are evenly distributed.

4. Pour this mixture into an airtight container. Place in a dark place for about six weeks to cure. Shake the container daily, for the first two weeks. This helps distribute the scent, which needs to be absorbed, in all the components of the potpourri mixture.


By the sixth week the potpourri should be ready to display. The most common way to display potpourri is in a pretty bowl. Although another great way to enjoy the fragrance of potpourri is to wrap a vintage hanker-chief around a cupful. These pretty parcels can be placed in drawers to give them a refreshing scent or given as gifts.

-Learning More

There are many books available on making potpourri. Stop by a book store, drop in your local library or google the word “potpourri” to find information and resources. Also, make sure you check out the San Francisco Herb Company’s website. They carry hundreds of herbs, essential oils and a variety of supplies for making potpourri.

You probably never thought you could make something so fragrant and appealing from your very own back yard. The next time you’re pruning your garden save all your deadheads and make sure you harvest a few flowers, now and then, for homemade potpourri you can make with your kids.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Making Homemade Potpourri, from Your Very Own Back Yard, with Your Kids

Part One of a Two-Part Article

If you’re like me I’m always anxious in the spring to get colorful annuals planted in pots and clear off my perennial and herb beds for the spring and summer season. And, now that it’s mid-summer and many flowers and herbs are at the peak of their blooming period, it’s a perfect time for gathering blossoms for making homemade potpourri.


With a bowl of homegrown flowers and herbs and a few ingredients, found at most craft stores, you’ll find creating a pretty, fragrant potpourri is both easy and fun to make with your kids. Here’s how to go about making homemade potpourri from five basic ingredients – flowers, herbs, spices, fixatives and essential oils:

-Select Flowers

Just about any flower you grow can be used in potpourri. However, some of the best flowers to include, because they dry well, maintain their shapes, and ones most likely grown in your gardens are: marigolds, roses, zinnias, pansies, daisies, dianthus and sunflowers. These flowers retain their color longer and hold up with time.

-Choose Herbs

Of course lavender is an obvious choice; still other wonderful herbs to include in your mixture are sage, mint, and basil leaves, as well as, thyme and rosemary. And, since many herbs bloom, especially mints, it’s a nice touch to include their flowers.

- Dry Blossoms

Gather flowers and herbs when they are dry, preferably mid-morning. In an airy place spread flowers out on sheets of newspaper. Hang bunches of herbs upside down (from their stems) to dry. Within a week most of them should be dry. If not completing dry they will mold.

-Include Spices

Adding spices to potpourri gives it a warm, sweet smell. Spices most commonly used are star anise, cloves, cinnamon and vanilla. They can be added in whole pieces or crushed.

Log on tomorrow for part two of this article. I’ll explain how to assemble your mixture and give you resources for learning more about potpourri and buying ingredients.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Exercise For a Healthier Mind


We all know exercise is good for our bodies. However, most people don’t know exercise is good for their state of minds as well.

Research consistently reveals how exercise can make us feel happier, thereby relieving stress and alleviating minor depression.

Experts explain being active causes our bodies to release chemicals called endorphins. These chemicals act as natural antidepressants. They ease anxiety and can lift our spirits.

So, the next time you feel anxious or sad take a brisk walk, hop on a bike or take a swim. You have nothing to lose but the blues.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Fourth of July Trivia


Memories of picnics, family reunions and barbeques may be what you associate the fourth of July with. Whatever your plans are for this one here’s a bit of trivia, on American History, you can share with friends or Family.

-The Declaration of Independence was adopted by Congress on July 4th, although the resolution that led to the writing of the Declaration was actually approved two days earlier.

-While July 4th is celebrated as America's official split from Britain's rule and the beginning of the American Revolution, the actual series of events show that the process took far longer than a single day. All of this had occurred with some of the delegates to the Congress not even present. New York, for example, didn't vote on the resolution until July 9th.

-The American National Anthem, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, was written by Francis Scott-Key in 1814. The song was an immediate hit with American revolutionaries. It was not until 1931 that the Star-Spangled Banner officially became the American National Anthem.

Have a fun and SAFE Fourth of July

Monday, July 03, 2006

Fourth of July Dessert


If you signed up to bring dessert to this year’s Fourth of July pot luck dinner - bring fruit. With such a variety of fruits available this time of year a cool assortment is a natural contribution to any summer party. Here are a few ways to present fresh fruit.

Hollow out a large watermelon using a melon scoop. Then place watermelon balls, and an assortment of fruits such as grapes, melon balls, and strawberries inside.

On a large tray arrange slices of cantaloupe, wedges of watermelon, whole strawberries, and bunches of grapes.

In a bowl, poor a light fruit glaze over a mixture of sliced bananas, strawberries, chunks of cantaloupe and grapes. Go into the teacherspetplace archives (Friday May 12) and find a recipe for fruit glaze.

With so many fruit choices available it’s a healthy substitute for dessert.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Simple Pleasures


This Fourth of July weekend is especially long and perfect for a family reunion. Many families are renewing family ties while enjoying picnics, hayrides and barbeques.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


Here's a great article on how to spiff up your wardrobe by my friend Shari Cabra. Her great ideas, on how to transform pieces of clothing and accessories, would be fun to do with your kids this summer. Her article is available for free reprint at


Flip through the pages of that fashion catalogue you just received and you'll find summer blouses embroidered with beads, sequins, and rhinestones. Skim through the pages with sandals displayed and you'll discover many are adorned with chunky glass and metal bobbles. Even ladies accessories - everything from watches to sparkly bracelets, earrings, and necklaces - are decorated with shiny crystals.

This season it seems everything is embellished with beads, bobbles, rhinestones, and crystals. Unfortunately, most of us don't have the financial means to purchase an entirely new wardrobe every year to reflect the newest fashion craze. But that's okay.

Do you have a favorite item of clothing, or an accessory, you love but think is out-of-date? Rather than give away this item, or throw it out, why not revamp it with embellishments? It's fun and easy. Here's how:

A jeans jacket is timeless and can easily take on a new look with a few changes. Even if your jacket is faded, embroider a simple pattern of beads along the collar and cuffs to get new mileage out of it. If you prefer rhinestones, Swarovski Crystals offers sew-on products. These crystals are enclosed in a setting that allows a needle and thread through the back. Just sew them on as you would a button. Don't sew? Both beads and rhinestones can be attached to your garment using special glues available for these kinds of projects.

Give your old sandals a new look with metal studs or add a splash of color with rhinestones. Using gem setting devices (found at your local crafts store) you can clamp both metal studs and rhinestones through tough materials like leather. If your sandals are plastic, glue the embellishments onto them.

Nothing is easier to make over than a purse. It doesn't matter if it's fabric or leather, you can quickly modify purses made of either material. Spiff up a purse by tacking a few studs onto the handle or gluing a pattern of beads or rhinestones onto the bag itself. Or, just hang a few bobbles from the strap. Do an online search for the words "beads" or "crystals" and see numerous sites pop up that offer these items for purchase. With such a variety of trimmings available, it's simple to give a face-lift to an old, yet beloved, purse.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to revamping pieces of your wardrobe. And, with so many handy tools and fantastic embellishments available and reasonably priced, anyone can do it.

Now...just flip through the pages of that latest fashion catalogue for ideas, get your supplies, and have fun.

Shari Cabra is owner of Created by Shari, a line of custom jewelry she designs and fashions herself from vintage silverware patterns. Cabra's collection varies from ornate Victorian pieces to the more sleek and simple contemporary designs. Her line is represented by Debra Steiner of Beyond the Expected Marketing. Find out more about the Created by Shari line by visiting Beyond the Expected Marketing or call Debra Steiner at 913-963-1733 for a catalogue.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Replace Sugary Snacks With the Three C's

With so many tasty sugary foods available it’s no wonder kids reach for them instead of healthy snacks.


Here's a list of healthy alternatives:

-Calcium Boosters: Reinforce healthy eating habits by providing assorted flavors of low-fat yogurt and making smoothies from 2% milk and fruit.

-Crunchy Munchies: If your child is craving something sweet or salty have granola bars, popcorn, and whole wheat crackers on hand.

-Crammed with Vitamins: Kids love fruit for a snack. Strawberries, grapes and raisins are favorites. And, many kids will eat apples if the skins are removed. Peel them and they’ll eat more. Vegetables, like carrots and celery, make a quick, enjoyable snack, too.

These are all good alternatives for sugary foods. Remember to check product labels to be sure products that claim to be low calorie aren’t full of fructose syrups.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Teaching Children Manners

We all want our children to behave politely and display proper etiquette. No matter what their age, there’s no time like the present to teach your children good manners.


Here are some topics to keep in mind when teaching children manners:

-Addressing adults: Children should be taught adults are addressed as Miss, Misses or Mister. And, how we show respect to authority figures such as, doctors or policepersons when we talk to them as officers or sirs or madams.

-Table manners: Explain it is impolite to chew with your mouth open, show how foods are passed to one another and teach the proper way to set a table.

-Phone Etiquette: Show the proper way to receive a phone call, take messages and the polite way to make a phone call.

-Guest Skills: Explain the proper way a guest should behave in someone else’s home. Asking permission to use the phone, getting drinks and picking up after themselves. Also, teach your children how to treat guests in your home.

-Please and Thank you: Teach your children to be gracious by teaching them to always say "please" and "thank you" when they ask for or receive something. When they begin to write, help them compose thank you notes.

Summer is the perfect time to fit in lessons on manners. In the end, you’ll have well behaved, polite children everyone will enjoy being around.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

A List to Live By

Today is Sunday, usually a quiet day. A good day to think about this list everyone should consider living by.

The most destructive habit...................Worry
The greatest joy....................................Giving
The greatest loss...................................Self-respect
The most satisfying work......................Helping Others
The ugliest personality trait..................Selfishness
The most endangered species................Dedicated leaders
Our greatest natural resource................Our youth
The Greatest shot in the arm.................Encouragement
The greatest problem to overcome........Fear
The most effective sleeping pill.............Peace of Mind
The most crippling failure disease.........Excuses
The most powerful force in life..............LOVE
THe most dangerous pariah...................A gossiper
The world's most incredible CPU...........The Brain
The worst thing to be without.................Hope
The deadliest weapon.............................The tongue
The two most power-filled words............I can
The greatest asset...................................Faith
The most worthless emotion...................Self-pity
The most beautiful attire...................SMILE
The most prized possession...................Integrity
The most powerful communication.............Prayer
The most contagious spirit..................Enthusiasm
The most important thing in life..........GOD

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Safety Tips For Single Moms Traveling With Kids


Everytime you turn on the news you hear about a violent crime. No wonder so many single mothers are hesitant to travel alone with their children. They fear for their safety.

I'm a single mom. Yet I love to take long road trips across the United States with my son. And having traveled so often over the past few years, I've developed a few safety tips that my son and I always follow. If you're a single mom, these tips should work for you and your family, too. Here they are:


Prior to leaving on your trip, join an auto club. Get on line and type in "Auto Clubs" at a good search engine, like, to find one.

Auto Club memberships offer tow service, gas delivery, jump starts, and assistance with mechanical problems, plus other services a single mom on the road might need. Also, many auto clubs have discount agreements with hotels and will send you free maps and vacation brochures.


Before you pull out of the driveway and onto the highway, make sure your car is in good working order. Take your car to a reputable auto service station. Have your oil and air filter changed. You will get better gas mileage. While you're there, have them check your windshield wiper fluid and the freon level in your air conditioner. Check the air pressure in your tires. Make sure your tires are in good shape and the treads aren't worn.

Make sure all your car door locks work. Also, because you don't want to advertise that you're traveling alone with your children, think about having your windows tinted for privacy, if they aren't already. Window tinting for an average size SUV will cost about $200.00 dollars.


Instead of bringing large amounts of cash with you, always pay for gas, hotel rooms, and souvenirs with a credit card and get a receipt. Keep your receipts and check them against your monthly statement. It's good to take at least two credit cards, in case one credit card company doesn't approve a purchase, Many times, for your protection, your credit card company will deny a purchase if you try to use the card outside of the area where you usually make purchases.

Carry cash for small purchases. Buy travelers' checks for backup cash. However, be prepared to pay a fee for cashing them at a bank.


Make sure to take your cell phone and its charger. Call family members periodically. Let them know your itinerary, where you are each day, and which hotels you are staying in. Collect all your state maps, your US almanac and vacation brochures and store them in a canvas bag for easy access. Even if your car has ON-Star capability, have maps for a backup.

Purchase a small portable air bubble and jump pack. An air bubble holds about 120lbs. of air. If you have a flat and are unable to get help, hopefully your tire will hold air long enough to limp into the next town. The jump pack will come in handy should your car battery die. Just remember to charge it before you leave home. If you're traveling during the winter months, it's good to pack a flashlight, candles, blankets and a first aid kit.


Inevitably you will end up eating in your car. Pack baby wipes and trash bags to keep your car clean. Pack snacks and water and plastic bins for souvenirs. A clean, organized car is much more pleasant for traveling. It's also safer since you won't be rummaging around trying to find something while your driving.


Take along CDs, books on tape, crayons, coloring books, and activity books to keep the kids entertained so you can give your full attention to driving.


Stay at hotels where your door does not lead directly to the outside. Most hotels now require a room key to access the hotel from exterior doors.

Every evening, check the weather conditions along your driving route. Join a hotel points program. They will give you phone numbers and the location of their hotels at your next destination. Many give discounts on room rates and you can earn points towards a free stay.


Don't take back roads. Always stay on main highways. Go to gas stations that are busy. Watch your surroundings as you drive along and be aware of cars behind you. If someone stops you, make sure they are authorized to do so. Of course, never leave your car and get in a stranger's car, for any reason.


Before you leave on your trip, teach or review with your children how to be safe around strangers. DANGER STRANGER! Never let your small children go into a rest stop restroom alone. Always escort them.


Buy a can of mace to keep in your car, and don't be afraid to use it if you must. Anyone's car can break down in the middle of nowhere. Be prepared if you find yourself in a seemingly dangerous location.

You may think of other safety tips for yourself and your children. The point is, make safety a part of planning a road trip with your kids, then get out there and see the country! There's no reason to hesitate.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The First Day of Summer


Today is the first day of summer. This evening take a long walk or stroll along the beach and enjoy the longest day of the year.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Raising Children Who Love to Read

When parents send strong messages that particular aspects of education are important and commit to participating, children more often than not experience success.


If you’re wondering, why some children grow up to become successful readers and possess a love for reading, the answer is simple. Their parents have made a commitment to their reading development.

Children can begin a journey to reading success and enjoyment when parents commit to:

- reading to children as young as six months old. Begin reading when they are barely sitting up and their eyes are beginning to focus. Select simple, colorful board books and read them with expression. Point to pictures, identify characters or animals and talk about the story.

- a schedule for reading aloud until children are independent readers. Modeling good reading allows children to hear reading that is fluid and full of expression. Parents should allow children to select books, as well as select books themselves. Introducing new books helps children develop a sense of the kinds of books they like.

- to making visits to the library until children are old enough to go there on their own. Show children visiting the library will become a part of their lives. Help them choose books to read or have read aloud. If children are older talk about the books they’ve chosen. Parents should select books themselves and talk about what they’re reading as well.

- to taking their children to books stores in their strollers, through the elementary, middle and high school years. Buy them a drink or snack, and browse the colorful displays and shelves full of books. Both parents and children should leave with a book.

- to reading themselves. Children naturally emulate their parent’s behavior. When parents possess a love for reading their children usually do as well. Parent should always have a novel they’re reading and set aside time for “read ins” with their children.

When parents commit to their children’s reading education this nurtures reading development and an enjoyment of books. And, all the while those parents have had a great time enjoying great books themselves.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day

It is a wise father that knows his own child -William Shakespear


Spend the day with your father. Take a long walk, chat under a shady tree or enjoy a good meal while you celebrate the love he gave you.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Choosing Personalized Gifts

With Father's Day coming up this Sunday and June weddings taking place all month, here are some tips from jewelry artist, Shari Cabra, for choosing personalized gifts.


by Shari Cabra

There’s nothing that says, “I care about you,” more than a personalized gift. Often one-of-a-kind objects, personalized gifts are usually cherished forever and many times handed down from generation to generation.

Today there are dozens of personalized gifts available, everything from the simple, inexpensive coffee mug to the more sophisticated sterling-silver letter opener.

The next time you're choosing a gift for someone special in your life, show how much you care by personalizing it. There are several ways to do that.

1. Have the Gift Engraved. Adding an engraved date, initial or name gives the gift your personal touch and makes it more meaningful to the receiver. Pen and pencil sets, letter openers, watches or pendants can be easily engraved. Or, choose an item that is already monogrammed with the receiver’s first or last initial.

2. Help Design the Gift. Add a part of yourself to a personalized gift by participating in its design. Working with a jeweler to create a unique piece of jewelry or simply selecting the ornaments for a charm bracelet will add your special touch.

3. Select Something You know The Recipient Wants or Needs. Having a quilt made in colors to match a nursery for a new baby, or ordering a frame with the bride and groom’s names on it is not only personal but practical in a special way.

4. Choose a Gift You Know Will Become a Personal Favorite. How do you know what will become a personal favorite? By being familiar with the kinds of items your friend or family members loves, collects, wishes for, etc. Select a gift similar to items he or she already has or choose a gift that can be added to an existing collection.

5. Choose a Gift That Will Complement the Receiver’s Home’s Décor. Personalized gifts are available in so many styles. Whether your special friend's home is decorated in modern contemporary or country style, a gift can be found to fit that décor.

Imagine the thrill your special someone will feel when presented with a unique and personalized gift. You’ve selected the perfect present because you care.

NOTE: This article is available for free reprint at

Shari Cabra is owner of Created by Shari, a line of custom jewelry she designs and fashions herself from vintage silverware patterns. Cabra's collection varies from ornate Victorian pieces to the more sleek and simple contemporary designs. Her line is represented by Debra Steiner of Beyond the Expected Marketing. Find out more about the Created by Shari line by visiting Beyond the Expected or by calling Debra Steiner at 913-963-1733 for a catalogue.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Are you’re Kids Saying, “I’m Bored?” Teach Them Basic Sewing Skills


I’ve been sewing since I was a teenager and still do. Over the years I’ve made everything from curtains to quilts - even the purses I carry. Summer has barely begun, even so you’ve probably already heard, “I’m bored.” So, why not introduce your older children to sewing while teaching them a skill they will use the rest of their lives.

I encourage parents to not only teach their daughters but also include their sons in sewing lessons. My son used to ask, “Why don’t you show me how to use the sewing machine?” He’s always interested in what I’m sewing and eager to participate. Really, he’s not particularly unusual, since so many famous fashion designers are men.

Here are a few reasons I think sewing skills are important for children to learn:

Sewing teaches children about different kinds of fabrics. As your children learn about fabrics they will naturally learn how different fabrics are laundered. This naturally leads them into lessons on how to operate the washer and dryer and how to take care of their clothing.

Ironing is a companion skill to sewing. As your children learn to sew a garment or craft project they will be introduced to ironing because it is usually required during and after construction.

Assembling any kind of garment or completing a sewing craft project requires reading instructions. Learning to read a pattern and it’s accompanying directions teaches children how to read sequential instructions.

Sewing involves math. Children will learn how to figure the amount of yards (of material) needed for a particular project and then accurately measure them out using either a ruler or tape measure.

As your children become proficient at sewing they will be able repair pieces of their clothing. They will be able sew up torn seams and hem garments on perfectly good pieces of clothing which otherwise might have been thrown out or given away.

Don’t worry if you don’t sew or own a sewing machine. Many fabric and quilt shops offer summer sewing camps for boys and girls. Classes are held once a week, for several weeks, where children are taught basic skills and complete a simple sewing project.

Break the summer boredom blues and teach your children a skill they can use the rest of their lives. They're going to be so proud of their finished products, and the best part, you’re spending quality time with your children.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Simple Pleasures

Nothing is more calming than the sound of trickling water from a fountain.


This summer think about installing a fountain on your deck or terrace. With so many styles to choose from you can easily install a small one in minutes. All you need is an electrical outlet.

While you read your latest book and enjoy a cool breeze listen to the sound of trickling water. Another one of life’s simplest pleasures.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Develop a Summer Reading Routine

286796_reading_a_storySummer is often a time when we let things slide and neglect maintaining any sort of schedule. But this year, try to establish a summer reading routine. It will help maintain the reading growth your children have made throughout the year. Here are a few ways to make reading part of your children's summer:

Commit to setting aside fifteen minutes each evening to reading. Turn the television off and have the whole family sit down and read. Even if it's reading a newspaper, you’re sending the message that reading is an important skill to develop. This is also a good time to read aloud to small children who are learning to read themselves.

Visit the library periodically. Help your children select books to read or want read aloud to them. This is also an excellent opportunity to teach your children how the library is organized. If your children are older, teach them how to use the computerized card catalogue as well. If you need help, ask the librarian.

From time to time, take excursions to the bookstore. Help your children choose books from the vast selection in the “great summer reads” displays. While you're there, set a good example and pick up a book for yourself.

Take an interest in the books your children are reading. Ask questions such as: why did you choose that book, what do you like best so far, where does it take place, who are the main characters, what's the problem in the story, will you read more stories by this author?

There's nothing more boring for kids than long road trips. Make sure you pack books. If your children are small, read aloud to them in the car on the way to your summer vacation spot. If you have older children, have them read to the younger ones. Everyone needs to pack a book, including Mom and Dad.

Summer is often hectic with summer camps, sports and family vacations. But you can still establish a daily reading time, and it will be well worth it. Chances are, with daily reading, your children won't just maintain their current reading levels, they will improve their overall reading proficiency. And won't that be a terrific way to start the school year next fall?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Summer Craft Time

Fleece Pin

This summer you may find the kids underfoot. Here's a simple craft to keep them busy.


Fleece in Two Colors
Pom Pom in a Third Color
Low Temperature Glue Sticks
Glue Gun
1- Craft (Brooch) Pin


-Take a piece of fleece and draw a flower with five petals. Take the second color and draw another flower only slightly smaller.

-Cut flowers out with scissors.

-Glue the smaller flower on the larger one with hot glue.

-Glue the Pom Pom in the center.

-Glue the craft pin on the back.

Keep logging onto The Teacher's Pet Place this summer. I'll have more easy craft projects.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Simple Pleasures

Hop on your bike today.


Today as you peddle down the sidewalk, through a park or along the lake think back to a simpler time in your life. The only thing you had on your mind was peddling as fast as you could to your best friend's house.

Remember! Stretch out before you throw your leg over that bike, or you'll feel it later.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Tips for Cooking with Kids

Time spent in the kitchen cooking with your children is time well spent. You can share the importance of preparing nutritious meals, while teaching your children cooking skills they will need, to prepare foods, in the future.


Here are a few tips:

* Always make sure children are well supervised in the kitchen.

* Only adults should use sharp utensils, plug in or turn on electric appliances or handle hot foods.

* Only assign tasks that children will have success with.

Even small children can participate in meal preparation - remember, make it fun and safe.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Summer Fun

If you're not teaching summer school and you're looking for summer fun on the beach, here are a few of my favorite places to visit.


Galveston, Texas: Warm sunsets will wake you up then lull you to sleep in this coastal town in Texas. Hunt for sand dollars while you watch sailboats.

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina: Enjoy Southern hospitality as you listen to the roar of the Atlantic and the cry of gulls.

Destin,Florida: White beaches greet you as drive through this gulf town. Spread out your towels and enjoy the sun and surf.

Build a sand castle, catch a wave and don't forget the sunscreen!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

End of the Year Clean Up

If anyone has "STUFF" to organize and throw out, it's a teacher.


The school year is finally over and your classroom is not the tidy, organized room it was at the beginning of the year.

These last couple of days of school clean out your classroom. Throw away forgotten papers, knobby crayons, and stubby colored pencils. Reorganize files, bookcases and cupboards.

Planning and getting your classroom ready, next year, will be much easier when everything is clean and already organized.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Gifts For the Teacher

Still trying to decide what to give that special teacher? Here's a couple of ideas....


A Journal

Many teachers travel during the summer. A journal is the perfect gift to record memorable experiences about a special trip, write down thoughts while flying or driving across country, or just to jot down ideas for the following school year.

A Photo Album

Teachers take photos of their students throughout the year. It may be to catch a fun Halloween party or take individual portraits for a writing project. A photo album will come in handy to organize those photos.

A Scrapbook

Every school years brings new memories. Pictures and cards from students, certificates or awards from parents or school districts, can be saved in a scrapbook.

An Assortment of Coffees or Teas

A cup of tea or a hot cup of coffee is just what a teacher needs on a cold fall morning - especially after playground duty.

A Gift Certificate

You can never go wrong with gift certificates. Maybe a day at the spa, tickets to a movie or dinner at a nice restaurant - all will be appreciated.

Whatever you choose, it's really the thought that counts, when you give that special teacher a gift, at the end of the year.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day is a day to remember those whoe died in our nation's service.


Officially proclaimed on May 5th, 1868 by General John Logan, Memorial Day was first observed on May 30th, 1868. Flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1873 New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Relax, Renew, Recharge

Whew! It's a three day weekend.


Take time this weekend to relax with a good book, bake your favorite dessert, or have dinner at your favorite restaurant.

Renew your relationships with either your children or your husband. Take time to sit down to a meal together or take a walk in the park.

Recharge your worn down batteries, from the non-stop pace of school. Sleep late, get a massage or just watch the sun go down.

You've made it through the last days of school, it's downhill from there!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Gifts for the Teacher, Candy Gram for the Teacher!

There are so many great teachers out there dedicated to their students. Nothing makes them happier than when a parent recognizes their efforts.


Candy Gram for the Teacher!

This a sweet poem (no pun intended) you can copy, embellish with candy, then present to that special teacher in your child's Life.

Because your smarts help our school run - Smarties@ Candy

Because your positive attitude keeps everyone in a good humor - Laffy Taffy@ Candies

Because of your commit-mint to our school -York MintPatties@

Because your school spirit makes you a great "roll" model - Toostie Rolls@

Because we think you're a shining star - Starburst@ Candies

Type this poem up on a bright colored piece of card stock. Tuck it into a pretty basket filled with these candies.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Craft Time, Tempera Painted Rainbow Fish

Yesterday you read the Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister. A fun craft to make, and one that complement this story, is a rainbow fish created from a paper plate,then painted with tempera paints.



1. Take a paper plate and cut the border or edge (usually about a 1-inch border around the plate) off of the plate.
2. This edge is for the fins. Cut this edge into two pieces -make one fin longer than the other.
3. Take the paper plate and cut out a pie shaped piece (about 1-inch wide) to create the mouth of the fish.
4. Paint the plate and the fins with tempera paints. Have students mix colors to create the aqua greens and sky blues in the Rainbow Fish. This paint is creamy and hides mistakes easily.
5. Let painted pieces dry then have students paint a black dot for the eye. Let dry, then glue fins to plate.

This rainbow fish projects turn out beautifully because tempera paint is bright and bold and easily mixes – so new colors are created easily.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Reading Aloud

Teaching kids about sharing is something teachers continually do throughout the school year.


THE RAINBOW FISH, by Marcus Pfister illustrates why sharing is important.

After reading this book talk with your students about how sharing helped the Rainbow Fish. Then, let them talk about ways they share at school and home.

Follow up today's lesson by having your students make their own version of the Rainbow Fish. Just provide an outline picture of a fish they can color. Or, let them glue different colors of papers to create scales on their fish picture.

Tomorrow I'll have a neat craft the kids can make using tempera paints.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Teacher's Prayer


Grant me the things that I will need
To do my job and always succeed.
Help me to know what to do and to say
To help those few students who refuse to obey.
Teach me how to love every child
Those who are busy and those who are mild.
Show me the gifts you've placed in each one
Help me to mold them to be like your son.
Give your eyes to see all their fears
Give me the words to bring them good cheer.
Make me your servant and help me to serve
Allow me to give them all they deserve.
Keep my heart humble in all that I do
And help me to teach them to be just like you.
Thank you for caring and hearing my prayer
And thank you for always being right there.

-Holly Sonnenshein

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Cooking With Kids, Fruit Smoothies

The end of the school year is winding down and both you and your children are dragging yourselves out the door to work and school.


Today, have your kids whip up Fruit Smoothies for breakast, while you sleep in.


2 Oz Pineapple or Apple Juice
1/2 Frozen Banana (Make sure you peel it before you freeze it)
6 Pieces Frozen Fruit such as Peaches, Strawberries, or Blueberries
2 Tablespoons Honey
2 Cups Crushed Ice

Mix all, then blend in a food processor or blender. Enjoy!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Teacher's Lounge, Broccoli Salad

The battle of the bulge is not just a historical battle, it was my mantra when I walked into the teacher's lounge.


I loved it when someone brought a salad, rather than a carb loaded dessert, to share in the teacher's lounge.

Broccoli and noodle salad it a crowd pleaser with its different and refreshing taste. Make sure to have some breath mints handy, this salad has onions in it!

1- Package (16 Oz) Broccoli Slaw
1- Head Broccoli Broken into Florettes
2 Bunches Green Onions - sliced
1- Large Red Pepper Chopped
1- Cup Sunflower Seeds
3- Packages Oriental Noodles

1/2 canola oil
1/2 sugar
1/3 white vinegar
seasoning mix from oriental noodles

Mix up dressing then add noodles. Let noodles soak in dressing for 24 hours in the refrigerator. Toss vegetables together then add noodles. Serve

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Keep 'em busy !!!

Are you getting ready to pull your hair out?


The school year is winding down and the kids are restless. You're tired and ready for summer break but learning must still take place.

Here are a few suggestions to keep 'em busy, for thirty minutes, at the end of each day.

1. Take a power walk around the playground.

2. Read aloud the last thirty minutes of each day.

3. Review math facts and the names of the fifty U.S. states.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Pizza Bread


Yesterday I introduced a book about pizza, one of the world's most popular foods. Today, I'm going to show you how you can make a simple version of pizza for your students right in your classroom. You will need a microwave, something many teachers have these days because they have become so inexpensive.

Recipe For Twenty Children:

3- Large Loaves French Bread
3- 12 OZ Jars Pizza Quick Sauce@
3- 6 OZ Bags Grated Mozzarella Cheese
1- Bag Pepperoni Slices, Optional

With serrated bread knife cut French bread into 1-inch thick slices. Smear about two tablespoons of pizza sauce on each slice, then sprinkle cheese on top of this. Microwave till sauce is hot and cheese is melted. IT'S THAT EASY!

I recommend you ask each child if they want Pepperoni slices. Today, many students are vegetarians. Also, many children are allergic to red dye, present in many brands of Pepperoni.

Many times I ask each child to bring a couple of dollars to school to help pay for classroom snacks and special parties. You may want to do this if you decide to have Pizza parties.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Reading Aloud

School is just about over and you're probably doing everything you can to keep the kids busy.


THE PIZZA BOOK, by Stephen Krensky is a fun book to read aloud to children. It explains the history behind pizza and recipes for dough and pizza sauce to make homemade pizza. It's also a good book to teach food groups to children.

Sign on tomorrow and I'll have a recipe for pizza bread you can make in your classroom. It will get the kids out of their seats and keep them busy for awhile.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

Let your children pamper you today. If they want to cook, what the heck, even though you know they'll probably burn your toast and create a disaster in the kitchen.


And, check out these links to articles for Mom today:

Renee Kirchner writes about her idea of the Perfect Mother's Day

The Three Angels Gourmet Co. offers a beautiful Mother's Day Poem

Read an article about moms who want to start their own business by work-at-home mom, Carrie Lauth at the Working Writer's Coach blog

Friday, May 12, 2006

Beat the Sugar Blues With This Fruit Medley

Hooray, summer vacation is just around the corner. And yes, you're probably working on getting off those extra pounds you put on last winter. And, today you're suppose to bring treats to the teacher's lounge.


You're probably not the only teacher watching her calorie intake, so today substitute a fresh, fruit medley for the usual carb fare.

Fruit Medley:

3 - Large Bananas
1 - Quart strawberries
1/2 Cantaloupe
A large bunch of seedless grapes
1 - Large can chunk pineapple

Drain pineapple, reserve juice. Dice fruit (except grapes and pineapple) into bite size pieces. Toss together in a large bowl.


1/4 Cup Flour
1/8 Cup Splenda@ sugar substitute
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/8 Cup orange juice
Reserved juice from pineapple

Blend all ingredients well with a whisk, then bring to a boil in a saucepan. Then, add two tablespoons of butter, mix well.

Let mixture cool. Pour over fruit, mix and chill.

Fruit is full of vitamins and has natural sugar. You won't experience the sugar blues you get from high carbohydrate foods!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Meet Renee Kirchner

Hi, thanks for stopping by today. I want you to meet Renee Kirchner, she and I are members of the Lieurance Group a writer's cooperative.

The Lieurance Group is a cooperative of experienced and gifted writers and graphics designers who would like to help YOU any way we can.


Renee Kirchner is a children’s author and freelance writer living in Carrollton, Texas. She is the author of BIOMES, a non-fiction chapter book published by Kid Haven Press.

Renee has written articles, stories, poems and puzzles for a variety of publications such as Family Fun Magazine, the Dallas Morning News, Sports Illustrated for Kids, Guideposts for Kids, Highlights, and many others. She enjoys writing both fiction and non-fiction for children and adults.

Renee holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Texas Tech University and spent ten years at Verizon working in various marketing positions.

She is an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and served as the marketing coordinator for the North Texas chapter during 2005.

Please visit her blog at

Her family and her writing are her life’s greatest passions. Email her about possible writing assignments.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

A Brief History - Sneakers

Long gone are high heels and loafers, instead many people are now wearing sneakers to work, especially teachers.


Sneakers are a necessity in the daily routines of many teachers. Moving around classrooms and throughout their schools, teachers are on their feet all day long. Sneakers are not only comfortable, but they come to our rescue and keep our feet warm on those days when we patrol the cold, hard playground.

The first sneaker was used in England about one hundred years ago. These shoes were made primaily for the upper classes, to wear when they played lawn tennis, cricket or croquet. Sneakers then were made of canvas and had rubber soles. Sneakers are also known by other names such as: tennis shoes, gym shoes, cross trainers, and running shoes. Today, sneakers or tennis shoes are the most popular shoe sold, and when people buy a pair they usually have a particular sport in mind for their use.

Pull your sneakers on (or maybe you already have them on) and take a fitness walk with your students. You'll feel more energetic and inspired to finish the day.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Craft Time, Sneaker Fun

Don't toss those old sneakers away, recycle them into colorful teaching aids.


Wash all of your old, beat up sneakers. Then, decorate them up with three dimentional craft paints, beads and glitters. Cut out the old laces and replace them with colorful ones.

Place these decorated sneaker in one of your classroom centers. Students can practice tying and lacing them up.